A Taste of Home: Serving Up Local and Regional Fare at The Wharf

Living in the South, particularly along the Gulf Coast, we are privileged to taste the bounty from local waters and area farms. There is something satisfying about the flavor of fish caught within miles of home or shelling green beans picked straight from grandma’s backyard.

Fortunately for us, the utilization of native resources is evident at many places and on many plates here at The Wharf.

Chef Chris Kelly of Driftwood Steakhouse has long been an advocate of integrating indigenous components into recipes. Sourcing locally, or “farm-to-table,” is not just a movement to him—it’s a way of life. He strives to promote his community and state by showcasing the natural culinary riches grown and procured nearby. In Kelly’s own words, his aim is to have his menu “reek of locality.”

Flora Bama Farms and Local Appetite Growers are just two of the many agricultural organizations Chef Kelly supports. He gets weekly notifications for what is in peak season and the best local areas to procure those ripe selections.

His finger is always on the pulse of what’s fresh and sustainable in the region. It’s detectable throughout the cuisine he creates, from scratch-made sauces to farm-raised cuts of meat to the stone-ground grits bought from a tire shop in Fairhope.

A man that stands by the belief that small businesses sustain small businesses, Kelly fights to keep home-grown integrity on the dinnerware of each customer that walks through his restaurant doors.

Another follower of all things provincial, Chef David Pan of Orange Beach Concierge uses local produce and seafood whenever possible. One of his favorite suppliers is Ole House Farms in Loxley, Alabama. He integrates OHF’s creamy Yukons into his award-winning Beef Bourguignon dish and their red potatoes in his shrimp boils.

According to farmer Tim White of Old House Farms, the potatoes are lower in carbohydrates than most other varieties. White grinds them up, rings Chef Pan, and has the luscious spuds prepped and ready for his usage.

The team at Villaggio Grille changes the menu regularly to provide their guests with the freshest, seasonal choices. Their oysters (that they hand shuck in-house!) are delivered to the restaurant in a sack straight out of St. Bernard, Louisiana. The spring mix used in many of their scrumptious salads is from Crane Creek in Loxley, Alabama as well as other in-season produce sourced from Covey Rise Farms in Husser, Louisiana.

Wash it all down with one of their signature cocktails containing regional spirits! They can mingle your martini with Elizabeth Vodka from Opelika, Alabama and Redmont Gin or Vodka from Birmingham.

And the official mic drop? Enter Burris Farm Market! Newly opened on property, the homegrown institution is not only supplying residents with a plethora of local vegetables and fruits, it’s become a convenient grab-and-go spot for The Wharf’s roster of restaurant chefs and staff!

You can grab a handful of sweet corn at Burris harvested from Barnhill Farms in Loxley, along with some Baldwin Country potatoes and throw them together for a yummy low-country boil. In need of healthier snack options for the week? Snag some cantaloupe, watermelon, or even a bag of peanuts if you prefer something saltier.

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